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Luc Janssens

Anyone here who has info on 4x4 Dodge Van by Champion Home Builders co?

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Hi,

Photo's of the 4x4 set up of this van would be nice to find.

Thanks in advance

 

Luc

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MPC offered kits of Ford 4x4 vans and I believe Revell offered a Chevy. IIRC they converted the frame to 4wd using other kit parts, much like what I would figure they did in the 1:1 world. 

Should not be too hard to build a replica of this van using common kit parts. You might also want to Google Pathfinder conversions, they were another company that converted vans into 4wd in the 70's.

 

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Intersting conversion.   Champion made motorhomes, I remember their Class C and Class A RVs..

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The transfer case from the Firestones Ford is correct for this, Ford and Dodge both used the NP205 in a divorced configuration around this time and the front output shaft is on the correct side. After a quick Google search it looks like Dodge 4x4 pickups of this era were leaf sprung and I imagine this company used off the shelf Dodge parts where possible. The axle looks like a Dana unit, easily found in many Dodge cars with a Hemi motor. Just rework the tubes and you're good.

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I was a mechanic for over 24 years and back in my younger days we built a lot of jacked up 4x4 trucks and I owned several. I also have a friend who still collects old Dodge trucks. I even owned a 78 W100.

Dodge pickups were set up very similar to the Chevrolet 4x4. We even converted some to Chevrolet axles. The differential was on the passenger side and most had 203 transfer cases with full time four wheel drive. I've only ever seen one with a divorced transfer case and a lot of things had been changed on it before I saw it. That is not to say that there were not many more made, I just haven't seen them. The Dodge also had a small 5 lug wheel pattern, the same as the car until the late 70s or early 80s. There are pictures of a 79 Wrangler van on the internet. It has coil springs on the front with a Dana 44 as Brian said, with a steering set up very similar to the 78-79 Ford 4x4. From what I can see the suspension is similar to the Ford as well. The differential is on the drivers side just like the one pictured above. Notice also the small lug pattern on the van above without any lockouts. Most of these were full time four wheel drive with 203 new process transfer cases. In scale I don't think that there's enough difference between the 205 and the 203 to get too concerned over. The 203 was chain driven with shifting levers and rods to the case mounted floor shifter and the 205 was gear to gear with plunger shifters connected to the case mounted floor shifter. Most Ford front differentials had the pinion at the top with a reverse cut gear. The ones that I've seen with the pinion at the bottom had a longer front drive shaft and a divorced transfer case. Just from what I can see in the photo's I would have to agree with Brian that there's a good possibility that this one has a divorced transfer case. As Brian said the Firestone kit is a good starting point. Depending on how accurate you want to be, you could probably use all of the 4x4 parts from that kit. From what I remember the front differential is not that great in that kit, as already said any Dana 44 would work. I think the B.N.L. resin has a good Dana 44 too.

I did find some Dodge 4x4 vans on line that had leaf springs on the front, but they were all modified to some degree, but some may have had leaf springs from the factory as well like the pickups.

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5 hours ago, DRIPTROIT 71 said:

I did find some Dodge 4x4 vans on line that had leaf springs on the front, but they were all modified to some degree, but some may have had leaf springs from the factory as well like the pickups.

No factory 4x4 Dodge, Plymouth, nor Fargo vans were ever offered. The front overhang is too short for leaf springs (think Jeep Commando short), so the aftermarket companies used coil springs and trailing arms to locate the solid front drive axle. I have also seen some homemade 4x4 van conversions using leaf springs up front, but most have frame extensions for the reason I mentioned above.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, guys, I was playing with the thought to use a Ford set up due to the limited Fr. overhang, now the hunt for parts is on...

:)

The (long term) plan is to turn one of my Dodge window van kits into an Alaskan wildlife tour or polar bear spotting vehicle with roof-rack for backpacks and stuff...

 

Edited by Luc Janssens

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Sounds like a great Idea, Luc! I cannot wait to see what you come up with.

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